Wisconsin is known as the "Badger State" because of the lead miners who first settled there in the 1820s and 1830s. These miners often lived in tunnels burrowed into hillsides, much like badgers.
Buffalo County, WI is located in the western part of the state, along the border with Minnesota. Its history dates back thousands of years, as it has been inhabited by various Native American tribes, including the Dakota, Ho-Chunk, and Menominee. These tribes lived off the fertile land and abundant resources along the Mississippi River and its tributaries.

European exploration of the area began in the late 17th century, with French fur traders encountering Native American populations. In the early 19th century, the United States government negotiated treaties with the tribes, leading to their forced removal from the area. This allowed for the influx of European settlers, who were primarily of German and Scandinavian descent. They established farms and small towns that thrived on agriculture, particularly wheat and dairy farming.

The county was officially established in 1853 and named after the plentiful buffalo herds that once roamed the area. The arrival of the railroad in the late 19th century brought further growth and development to Buffalo County. The county seat, Alma, quickly became a bustling town and a major hub for river commerce. Throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the county saw steady economic growth due to its thriving agricultural industry and transportation infrastructure.

In recent years, Buffalo County has experienced changes in its economic landscape. With the decline of traditional family farms, the county has diversified its agricultural sector to include more specialty crops and organic farming. Additionally, there has been a focus on eco-tourism, with recreational opportunities along the Mississippi River attracting visitors. Today, Buffalo County is known for its picturesque landscapes, historic architecture, and vibrant communities, offering a mix of tradition and modernity in the heart of the Midwest.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Buffalo County, Wisconsin.

  • 1836: Buffalo County is established as a governmental unit within the Wisconsin Territory.
  • 1849: The first permanent settlers arrive in the county.
  • 1854: The first post office is established in Buffalo City.
  • 1856: The county seat is established in Alma.
  • 1860: The population of the county is 5,533.
  • 1873: Wisconsin Legislature approves the establishment of the University of Wisconsin-Mondovi, which later becomes the University of Wisconsin-Stout.
  • 1889: Buffalo County Courthouse is completed in Alma.
  • 1924: Construction of Lock and Dam No. 4 begins on the Mississippi River.
  • 1971: The town of Maxville is submerged due to the completion of Lock and Dam No. 4.
  • 1994: Alma is designated as the "City of River Hills."